Ones to Watch

Nick Draper: In between the sticks in New Zealand

Nick Draper had built a good reputation for himself in the top level of non-league football in England but he wanted a new challenge.

The goalkeeper from Grimsby started his career with Lincoln City and after coming through the youth ranks, was an unused substitute 25 times during the 2011/12 season in the National League. The following year he spent the campaign on loan at the world’s oldest football club, Sheffield FC.

After leaving Lincoln following eight years of service, Draper moved north of the border, spending a season for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. On his return to England he joined his former local club Grimsby Town.

Spells later followed in National League North with Alfreton Town and Worcester City before in 2018, he made the move abroad but this time it would be much further from home.

The ‘keeper joined Auckland Conference side Papakura City and since moving across the world, the 26-year-old’s stock has continued to rise. Having impressed in the regional leagues, Draper secured a deal with New Zealand Premiership side Waitakere United in the top flight of football in the country.

Last season he started 14 matches for Waitakere and was named as the Premiership Player of the Week in January 2019 for gameweek 12. He has remained with Waitakere for this season and has played all seven of their league fixtures so far this season with his team currently sitting in fifth, one spot outside the playoffs.

Draper has shown that a move abroad, even if not initially in the top division, can lead to big things and who knows where his impressive performances in the New Zealand Premiership could lead him.

You can follow Nick on Instagram here.


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